Dropping the aitch from "human"

Gordon, Matthew J. GordonMJ at MISSOURI.EDU
Tue Dec 19 00:38:40 UTC 2006

I think you need to differentiate h-dropping in 'human, humor, humid' etc. from the others. In these cases you have consonant cluster simplification /hj/ > /j/ which continues a long tradition in the history of English. This flavor of h-dropping is associated with NY/NJ but I can't find a citation for that. I checked Wells and found no mention of it. I'm 99% sure that it's not mentioned in Labov's Phonological Atlas.

I've never heard of the more general h-dropping of the English type in any American dialect.

-Matt Gordon

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society on behalf of Grant Barrett
Sent: Mon 12/18/2006 4:51 PM
Subject:      Dropping the aitch from "human"
Can anyone offer insight into or sources covering the regions of the
US where "h" is likely to be dropped at the beginning of words in
which the "h" is typically pronounced in other regions? The classic
example is the word "human."

I'm not interested in discussions of just "herb," but words like
human, humor, humid, hunger, hoot, hootenanny, hooter, hook, hush,
hungry, humble, hundred, hunk, hunker, happy, handle, hanky, hanker
and any others where the "h" is, or seems, likely to disappear in
specific parts of the country.

Journal articles or book recommendations welcomed. I don't have
access to Labov et al's Atlas, though page-pointers are welcomed.

Thanks, in any case.

Grant Barrett
editor at doubletongued.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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